Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;

Apr 2014 Prez Sez

Summer is almost here and the April meeting is the last for the 2013-12014 season.  Migratory birds are working their way to summer breeding grounds and will soon be gone.  But that doesn't mean there is nothing left to do. There are lots of issues to contend with especially dealing with the health of our rivers and our springs.

On the positive side, the Florida Land Water Legacy campaign achieved status to be on the ballot in November as Amendment 1.  Now they are collecting money and soliciting volunteers to educate the public on the amendment.  If you would like more info, go to this link.

Volusia County is debating an ordinance regarding summer use of fertilizers on lawns. It was intended to stop the runoff of nutrients into the Indian River and hopefully solve the brown algae problem.  However, it has now gotten watered down with the help of a study by the fertilizer industry itself. Talk about giving the fox the key to the hen house.  If it is not a strong ordinance, it will not protect the IRL.

There are bills in the State Senate to protect our springs and even provide money to help stabilize them and perhaps even reverse some of the damage.    The House is quite the opposite.  According to the Tampa Bay Times editorial on Saturday, April 5th: "The House has opted instead to push a measure that's toxic even by the low standards of its sponsor, Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City. His bill would give landowners the right to pump from public water sources for 50 years, up from the current 20 years. Counties would be barred from adopting more protective rules for wetlands than the state, and locally elected officials would be prohibited from requiring a supermajority vote to approve new, large-scale development. Patronis' bill makes it easier for developers to game the system by getting agricultural tax breaks for speculative land investments. And it weakens the oversight of wells and well contractors while creating flimsy new standards for environmental mitigation banks."

In case you haven't heard, there was a new oil spill in the Gulf in one of the worst possible places and worst possible times for migrating sea and shorebirds.  A barge carrying almost 1 million gallons of heavy oil collided with a ship in the Houston Ship Channel at Texas City. A barge tank containing 168,000 gallons of oil was breached. Look here for more info.

We will need to watch the progress of these issues and others and respond appropriately. 

To keep up with these issues, I recommended in the past subscribing to the Florida Conservation Coalition emails, and the Florida Audubon Action emails. Please get on board.  Democracy works only if the citizenry is involved.

Our season is over but there are lots of issues including the health of the IRL and Florida's springs

If you would like to help the club by volunteering for an open position please let me know

Happy summer. See you next season.